Nearly 30 years ago, youth soccer in Portland began with a few dozen families on the West End and a couple of goals made from plastic pipe and fishing nets. This fall, nearly 900 boys and girls from across the city are lacing up the boots and stepping onto the pitch.

Come game day, small armies of players, their parents towing provisions, siblings and beach chairs, march among the small grids painted across Doherty Field, waiting for a game to finish so they can go on. The focus here is on skills and fun. No scores or standings, thank you. (Though, truth be told, any 9-year-old can fill you in.)

You’ll find them at Doherty on Sundays through October. A few might fancy themselves to be Dempsey or Donovan, Marta or Wambach, Messi or Drogba. Most, though, simply want to get a foot on the ball just so and send it spinning into the twine. If only once!